Friday, May 13, 2005

It's like herding cats

.... shepherding the intellectual lives of theologians and philosophers. But it has to be done. Free enough to be joyous and productive (catching lots of mice, teaching lots of students, leaping out the hayloft window, following the fascinating new concept.....) and controlled enough to stay safe (not get lost off the farm or hit by a car, not wandering off into heresy or getting mauled by other creatures on and about the place....). And the way this has been done, at least for the last few generations, is by arranging a good-cop/bad-cop team to ride herd on them all. Now Pope Benedict, before he became Pope, had the job of bad-cop to Pope John Paul's good-cop in keeping the theologians and philosophers productive and safe. Now Benedict is the pope, and has the good-cop job as part and parcel of the Petrine ministry --- but who was going to take over his own old job as bad-cop?

Now we know. The Powers that Be announced this morning that Archbishop William Levada, who has been honing his cat-herding skills among the feral felines of San Francisco, has been appointed Prefect of the CDF. May the Lord's blessing be with him in his new job. Theologians are a little less wild than San Franciscans, but also less predictable.

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